As we start the month of June and begin thoughts of summer and vacation it is worth a brief reflection on what this month means in the history of our fraternity and country.
On June 5, 1730 the Grand Lodge of England issue an edict for Daniel Coxe to act as Provincial Grand Master of the Provinces of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
During the Revolution on June 17, 1774 Bro General Joseph Warren was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill; In 1776 our Brethren took a position of leadership in forming our country. On June 7th Brother Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed a resolution calling for a Declaration of Independence. His resolution read (in part): These United colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. On June 11th Brothers Franklin, Sherman and Livingston joined Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence. On June 14thBrother Marquis de Lafayette landed in America to join the Revolution.
During the war of 1812 on June 1, 1813 Brother James Lawrence Commander of the frigate Chesapeake was mortally wounded and before the vessel was taken by HMS Shannon issued the famous order “Don’t give up the Ship”.
On June 17, 1883 the Statue of Liberty sculpted by Brother Auguste Bartholdi arrived in New York City aboard the French ship Isere.
June 26, 1917 General and Brother John J. “Black Jack” Pershing sent the first troops of the American Expeditionary Force into France during World War I.
In the post World War II Era, Brother James Upham advanced the idea of a flag raising ceremony in all schools and Reverend/ Brother Francis Bellamy created the Pledge of Allegiance adopted by congress June 22, 1942. Brother Franklin D Roosevelt signed the GI Bill of Rights on June 22 1944. A year later President and Brother Harry Truman at San Francisco joined 50 other nations in signing the United Nations Charter, and on June 27, 1950 ordered the USAF and USN into the Korean Conflict by request of the UN Security Council.
In 1967, Brother (EA) Lyndon Johnson nominated Brother Thurgood Marshall to become the first Black justice of the US Supreme Court.
Brethren the reasons I called these facts to your attention is in part to improve our awareness of the influence our fraternity has had over the years, but also a more important message. As we prepare to “go dark” for the summer months, our fraternity and its influence is always bright. We don’t all need to be predominant figures in history, but the influence of one will make a difference.
Russ Bauer, Worshipful Master